How to prepare for Non-verbal Reasoning (NVR)

Eleven Plus Non Verbal Reasoning Tests provide an assessment of a child’s ability to understand and analyse visual information and solve problems using visual reasoning.

The tests tend to contain a few different question types within one exam, requiring skills such as…

  • eleven plus non verbal reasoning preparationIdentifying relationships between objects
  • Spotting similarities and differences between shapes and patterns

  • Recognizing visual sequences

In addition to the highly recommended Chuckra Online Assessment Tool, COAsT, which makes all of our Premium Tests (initial assessment tests, past mock papers and varied length practice papers) available and affordable to all, there are plenty of free eleven plus non-verbal reasoning resources on We have also made recommendations of some other useful resources that are available to purchase in the Chuckra Online Shop which will enhance the 11 plus journey for parents, tutors and students.

You can jump straight to the list of Recommended 11+ Resources for Non-verbal Reasoning preparation, or continue reading for more detailed guidance on how to use all of these resources in a practical preparation plan. 

If you have decided to send your child to an 11+ tutor, it is always worth checking whether the tutor knows about the 11+ resources recommended here, which of these resources they incorporate into their lessons and hence which resources you can use with your child to help them along the preparation path.

Assess Current Ability

The Initial Assessment of your child before they embark on any preparation is important to do, even if only to provide a record of your child’s ability at that stage so you can analyse their progress along the way. There are many aspects to take in to consideration when you assess a student’s current ability

Master the Subject

Eleven plus test papers comprise a number of different question types within one exam. 

Master the basics of Non-verbal Reasoning and make preparation effective:

  • Practise questions of each type after reading the corresponding article. 
    • Untimed Practice Questions in My 11PLUS.
      Students can select by question type from the Question Topic Breakdown in their student account. Remember, timing is not as important as understanding at this stage, so allow your child as long as they need to complete these questions. 
    • Timed Tests in My 11PLUS.
      It will soon become apparent as to which question types your child might not clearly have understood. Using the ‘Retry’ functionality in My 11PLUS is great as it allows your child to retry (untimed) all questions they got wrong before you review them together. This means you can see if they just struggled with the timing or if there is something more fundamental that they do not understand about the questions.

Once your child is clear on how to tackle each of the Non-verbal Reasoning question types then move on to mixed practice papers (timed) and practise, practise, practise!

eleven plus non verbal reasoning

Please bear in mind that CEM (Durham) and GL Assessment (formerly nferNelson), the most widely used publishers of 11 plus exam papers around the UK at present, tend to include a fairly narrow selection of question types in their NVR exams. However, it is important to understand that they may choose to add in new question types in an effort to make the exams more ‘tutor proof’. Therefore, we recommend mastering these question types, but also enhancing core skills required in Non Verbal Reasoning generally to be best equipped for anything that may come up on the big day. 

Enhance Core Skills

Make sure to incorporate a selection of exercises and games to enhance core skills, throughout the preparation process, to help keep interest and motivation up.

eleven plus non verbal reasoning gameThe Brain Games in My 11PLUS perfect for practising Non-verbal Reasoning skills are: 

  • spotTheGroup
  • oddRotator
  • memGrid
  • memShooter
  • shapeDown

Boost Exam Performance

eleven plus non verbal reasoningAn important aspect of entrance exam success is having the ability  to stay calm whilst working quickly AND accurately.

View our tips on how to Boost Exam Performance

Find out more about Mock Exam Days

Recommended 11+ resources for NVR

My 11PLUS has a large bank of non-verbal reasoning practice questions and timed tests to do online. 

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